While things have calmed down on the calving front with fewer than 30 cows left to calve, the weather has made life difficult.
The ground is taking a beating and is a soggy mess, but cows are still getting out for a few hours after each milking and back into the shed to the feed rail to keep them topped up. There is an extra bit of work with the back fencing and often two strip fences being put up, but it's worth the extra effort to keep the ladies happy and out to grass.
While conditions aren't ideal for grazing, our show season started earlier than we expected, with the purchase of Panda Global Magic Red at the Global Connection sale.
We have been looking for a nice red and white heifer for a while now, and we spotted this beautiful lady, b red by Molly Westwood at Panda Holsteins in the UK, so we had a family meeting and decided to go for it.
Becky and I have been keeping an eye on Molly for a while now, and when the opportunity arose to buy Magic, we just had to go for it.
She is by Coomboona Zipit Mirand out of Panda Glory Hallelujah Red ET VG87 (2 Yr old), who is an Unstopabull from Golden Rose Barbritzi B-Red Ex90, who was the first 20 th generation Ex. Magic comes from a long line of VG and Ex families and has had a very successful show career to date, being nin th at the red & white National Calf Show in 2022, first in the black & white Southwest Calf Show 2022, fir st in the black and white Mid Devon Show 2022.
After the sale, she also competed at the Borderway UK Dairy Expo last week, where she won the red & white spring calf class and went on to win the reserve red and white junior champion. She also won the Holstein spring class against the black and whites, which was a huge class with 30 entries.
Panda Holsteins also had great success with other heifers at the show, taking home an array of prizes, including an All-Britain Award with another one of her magnificent heifers.
Molly Westwood is a force to be reckoned with it. Born and reared on her family's dairy farm in Devon, you can sense her passion for cows and genetics just by talking to her.
Her love of showing started when she was a child watching her sister showing her Dexter cattle. She soon had her own well-bred heifer to show, and she reached out to other breeders, and helped them at shows learning all the time.
After the family farm was sold, Molly went to Canada after school with the intention of staying one year, and she ended up staying four years, coming home to the UK in 2012 with five Holstein embryos and Panda Holsteins was born.
She now has a herd of over 60 elite Holsteins. Her passion for genetics is clear to see, she is also a genetics advisor for international semen company Masterrind.
She adds a new cow family to the herd every year and uses social media, online marketing and going to shows to sell and market her stock. Her herd is predominantly red and white, about 90% with the rest being a red carrier. She flew a cow out to Europe last year, with the hope of more in the future.
I feel so lucky that we managed to secure Magic at the global sale; it was a tense half hour. There was a time that bids would close, but every time someone would put a bid down another 30 seconds was added to the clock, so we had to be quick.
There were some cheers around the kitchen table when we managed to secure her. Magic will remain based in the UK, with the plan going forward to give Becky the opportunity to show her at some of the bigger shows.
She will get a huge amount of experience and get to meet some amazing people. She will have her other heifers here, and we will fly over before the shows to give Molly a hand in getting Magic ready for her shows.
I want to give my kids the opportunities I had, they put a lot of work into the show heifers and having heifers to show here at home and one in the UK will give them amazing opportunities to learn and meet like-minded people with the same huge passion for cows and bovine genetics that they have.
They will see how other producers and breeders do things, and they will soak it all in.
It will most certainly bring its own challenges for the coming show season and makes things a lot busier for us, but getting the chance to work with Molly is a very exciting prospect. But you know me, I love a good challenge, and the more that’s thrown at me, the better I can organize myself.